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Don't Tread On Me Flag

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DI8105
  • Display flag created to be showcased at homes and events
  • Polyester fabric will allow the flag to withstand years outside
  • Optional pole can be included with your purchase
  • Side grommets and header tape make mounting simple and quick
  • Our Don't Tread On Me flags are made in the USA
configurable10

Don't Tread On Me Flag Details

Parts List:

  • Pre-printed flag
  • Optional flagpole of your choice

Material:

  • Outdoor Flag Polyester: Tear-resistant lightweight knitted fabric with excellent thru-print (3.25oz/yd²)

Quick Don't Tread On Me Flag Facts:

  • Designed by US colonel Christopher Gadsden.
  • First flown in December 1775.
  • Design: A coiled black rattlesnake over the words “Don’t Tread On Me” on a yellow background.
  • Meaning: The flag is used as a symbol of American patriotism or support for certain civil liberties (such as the 2nd Amendment).

Specifications

ModelPart NumberSizeWeightIncludes
Flag Only DI8105 5ft x 3ft 0.4lbs Pre-printed flag
Flag & Hand-Held Flagpole DI0650 6ft 2.1lbs Pre-printed flag
Tangle-free aluminum flagpole
Removable black handle
Flag & Wall-Mounted Flagpole DI0653 6ft 2.9lbs Pre-printed flag
Tangle-free aluminum flagpole
Removable black handle
180° adjustable wall mount
Flag & Pole-Mounted Flagpole KX0090 6ft 3.2lbs Pre-printed flag
Tangle-free aluminum flagpole
Removable black handle
180° adjustable wall mount
(2) 40" steel bands
Flag & Ground-Mounted Flagpole DI0550 20ft 9.5lbs Pre-printed flag
Aluminum flagpole
PVC tube for ground installation

Don’t Tread On Me: the History of the Gadsden Flag

Known as the Don’t Tread On Me flag or the flag with the coiled snake, this flag has a long history as one of the first flags of the United States.

The snake that would become the center of the Gadsden flag had its origins as a design on the drums of the first five companies of United States Marines. It takes its inspiration from the timber rattlesnake that is common to the eastern half of the United States.

The first known use of the Gadsden flag design as an actual flag comes from the first mission of the Continental Navy, undertaken in December 1775. Before the navy left, the commander of the navy, Esek Hopkins, was given with a version of the flag by South Carolina merchant  and soldier Christopher Gadsden for use as the personal flag of his flagship.

Gadsden had taken insight from the flag of Hopkins’ previous post, the Providence Train of Artillery. Their flag featured a coiled rattlesnake and the motto "Do Not Tread on Me" along with an anchor, cannons and the motto "In God We Hope" on a gold background.

The flag that Gadsden presented to Hopkins is a simplified version of that design.

Following its use by the fledgling US navy, the rattlesnake symbol was used by Congress in 1778 as the official seal of the War Office.

As shown by its motto of “Don’t Tread On Me,” the Gadsden flag has long been a symbol of disagreement – most recently when it was co-opted by the Tea Party movement protesters in the early 2000s. The Don't Tread On Me flag has been flown everywhere from the middle of Iraq to the town hall of Riverdale, New Jersey.

Why the Coiled Rattlesnake?

So why did Gadsden choose a coiled snake as the center of the Don't Tread On Me flag he presented to Hopkins? Though he had taken inspiration from the flag of Hopkins’ previous post, the rattlesnake had always been a favorite of those who were on the side of American independence since before the Revolutionary War.

In 1751, Benjamin Franklin published an angry article in a local newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. He was objecting to the British use of the American colonies as a prison. The British had been sending their convicts and prisoners to the colonies, where they’d been causing trouble. He suggested that the colonists return the favor -- with rattlesnakes.

Franklin said that the colonists should send a cargo of rattlesnakes back to Britain and release them in places like St. James’ Park and Spring Garden.

Three years later, in 1754, that same newspaper printed a political cartoon of a snake cut into 8 pieces, each labeled with the name of a colony. The motto “Join Or Die” was shown below the snake in large letters. This was to remind the revolutionaries of what would happen if they didn’t remain unified.

By 1774, a year before the battles of Lexington and Concord, the snake had grown together. The motto beneath it had changed from “Join Or Die” to something more in line with the unity shown by the new grown-together snake.

Many other authors began to pick up the coiled rattlesnake symbol. They felt that it was a good choice to represent of the values that made America what it was.

Under a pen name, Benjamin Franklin submitted his own reasons for why he believed that the rattlesnake was a good symbol for America. He thought that the rattlesnake was a symbol of tempered tenacity. It only attacked if it had been attacked first and it never surrendered once it had been attacked.  

The rattlesnake is unique to America, and the rattle on its tail is a perfect way to explain the reason for the uprising of the original American colonies. Individually, the rattles make no sound, but together they can be heard by anyone.

The snake in general, and the eastern timber rattlesnake in particular, was the most important symbol of America for Americans, at least during the Revolutionary period.

Minutemen and regulars fought under the Don't Tread On Me flag. Colonial currency was stamped with curled rattlesnakes. Pamphlets and papers presented the nascent United States as a serpent slithering on its belly.

Why would the American leaders have picked a snake as their symbol? They knew the Bible and the story of Adam and Eve. They knew about the snake in the garden.

Here’s the bottom line: choosing a snake -- specifically the rattlesnake -- was an offer of peace.

If you happen to find a rattlesnake out in the wild, it won’t bite you immediately. Instead, it’ll make the noise that gives it its name -- a warning for you to go away. If you don’t, then it will strike.

By choosing the rattlesnake as their emblem, the colonists were telling Great Britain: “If you don’t leave us alone, we’ll have to attack you.”

Some fun facts about the rattlesnake:

  • There are 36 known species of rattlesnake.
  • All species of rattlesnake are venomous.
  • Rattlesnakes have a lifespan of 10 to 25 years.
  • Most rattlesnakes range in size from 2 to 4 feet.
  • The largest rattlesnake species is the eastern diamondback rattlesnake. It can reach up to 8 feet in length and weigh up to 10 pounds.

Sources:

  1. The Gadsden Flag
    https://www.usflag.org/history/gadsden.html
  2. The Story of the American Flag 
    https://books.google.com/books?id=22s9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA289#v=onepage&q&f=false
  3. Flag of the United Train of Artillery of Providence 
    https://classroom.monticello.org/media-item/flag-of-the-united-train-of-artillery-of-providence/
  4. Gadsden Flag: Don't Tread on Me
    https://www.gadsden.info/
  5. Revolutionary Reptiles: Rethinking the Semiotic Role of the Snake and Serpent In the  Iconography of American Independence
    https://www.academia.edu/26614172/Revolutionary_Reptiles_Rethinking_the_Semiotic_Role_of_the_Snake_and_Serpent_In_the_Iconography_of_American_Independence

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